|Publication number||US7865384 B2|
|Application number||US 11/840,322|
|Publication date||Jan 4, 2011|
|Filing date||Aug 17, 2007|
|Priority date||Aug 17, 2007|
|Also published as||US20090048986|
|Publication number||11840322, 840322, US 7865384 B2, US 7865384B2, US-B2-7865384, US7865384 B2, US7865384B2|
|Inventors||Timothy Merrill Anderson, Warren John Baumann, Gregory James Fischer, Kevin C. McConnell|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Non-Patent Citations (3), Classifications (11), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to a system and method for identifying and reducing costs of information technology actions in real time, and more particularly to a role, rule and policy-based data processing technique for identifying an actual cost of a user's activity performed via an information technology system, determining that the actual cost is greater than a target cost and presenting a notification to the user that facilitates the selection of cost-saving options relative to the activity.
Employees of a company use information technology services provided by the company without understanding the costs associated with using the services. Some number of employees view information technology actions such as sending an email, downloading a file and surfing the web as costing nothing. Conventional techniques to address identifying the aforementioned costs include (1) covering all information technology service expenses as an overhead without providing an understanding of how much a particular service is costing; (2) charging a monthly or yearly fee for an information technology service and posting to a website for employees to use; and (3) billing based on usage similar to the way phone companies charge for minutes used while making phone calls. Each of the conventional techniques listed above provide costs after the fact (i.e., after an information technology action has been completed), thereby hindering cost-reducing adjustments of employees' behavior relative to information technology actions. Thus, there exists a need to overcome at least one of the preceding deficiencies and limitations of the related art.
The present invention provides a method of identifying and reducing costs of information technology actions in real time, comprising:
detecting, by a computing system, an initiation of an information technology (IT) action by a user of a computing unit coupled to the computing system;
determining, in real time by the computing system and prior to a completion of the IT action, an actual cost to perform the IT action;
obtaining, by the computing system, a target cost to perform the IT action;
comparing, by the computing system, the actual cost to the target cost;
determining, by the computing system, a result of the comparing, wherein the result is the actual cost being greater than the target cost;
obtaining, by the computing system, one or more recommended actions, wherein an outcome of performing the one or more recommended actions is a reduction of the actual cost to perform the IT action; and
sending, in real time by the computing system and prior to the completion of the IT action, a notification to the computing unit to facilitate a presentation of the notification to the user by the computing unit, wherein the notification includes a description of the one or more recommended actions or a link thereto.
A system, computer program product, and a process for supporting computing infrastructure that provides at least one support service corresponding to the above-summarized method are also described and claimed herein.
Advantageously, the present invention provides a real time technique for identifying costs of performing an information technology action and reducing costs associated therewith.
The present invention provides a user, in real time, a notification of an actual cost of performing an information technology (IT) action (a.k.a. IT task). The notification also informs the user whether the actual cost exceeds a target cost associated with the same IT action. The target cost is, for example, an average cost that other users incur to perform the same IT action. Furthermore, the present invention identifies one or more recommended options that, when performed, reduce the cost of performing the IT action. As used herein, an IT action is a set of one or more activities performed via an information technology system, such as attaching a 10 MB presentation file to an email and sending the email to 10 recipients.
In inquiry step 206, computing unit 106 (see
In inquiry step 210, computing unit 106 (see
In inquiry step 212, computing unit 106 identifies a setting of a configuration (a.k.a. user's configuration) of the user's client computing unit (e.g., computing unit 102 of
In inquiry step 214, computing unit 106 (see
In step 216 of
In one embodiment, the target cost obtained in step 218 is an average cost of a plurality of users performing the IT action. Computing unit 106 (see
In inquiry step 220, computing unit 106 (see
In step 224, computing unit 106 (see
In one embodiment, a user for whom the cost of performing the IT action is less than or equal to the target cost may select an option or have a pre-configured option to prevent the display of the notification in step 224. Further, a user for whom the cost of performing the IT action exceeds the target cost may select an option or have a pre-configured option to prevent the display of the notification for a predefined amount of time.
In step 226, the user reviews the notification. If step 226 follows steps 222 and 224 in sequence, then the user reviews the description of the one or more recommended actions. In one embodiment, at least one of the one or more recommended actions may be automatically performed via an initiation of the at least one recommended action by the user choosing an automatic fix selection (e.g., activating an onscreen link for an automatic fix). If step 228 determines that the user chooses an automatic fix selection, then in step 230 computing unit 106 (see
If the user does not choose the automatic fix selection (i.e., the No branch of step 228), or no automatic fix selections exist, then the user may choose to perform none or at least one of the recommended actions whose description is included or referenced in the notification reviewed in step 226 and the IT cost identification and reduction process ends at step 232. The user's performance of at least one of the recommended actions results in a reduced cost of performing the IT action detected in step 202 (see
Returning to the presentation of the notification, step 224 is also followed by step 234, in which computing unit 106 (see
Returning to inquiry step 220, if the actual cost determined in step 216 is less than or equal to the target cost obtained in step 218, then computing unit 106 (see
The cost savings is indicated in step 236 if the second actual cost (i.e., the actual cost of performing the subsequent IT action) is less than the actual cost of performing the initial IT action (i.e., the aforementioned actual cost determined in the initial performance of step 216). If step 236 identifies such cost savings since the last notification, then in step 238 computing unit 106 (see
If inquiry step 236 does not identify any of the aforementioned cost savings since the last notification, then the IT cost identification and reduction process repeats with a follow-up notification presented to the user in step 224. Such a follow-up notification is presented to the user in step 224 under the following conditions: (1) the user's client computing unit is pre-configured to allow the presentation of notifications (see step 212 of
In one embodiment, the rules & policies database 114 (see
In step 304, employee information (i.e., user information related to the employee sending the email) is retrieved by computing unit 106 (see
In step 306, computing unit 106 (see
In step 308, computing unit 106 (see
In step 310, computing unit 106 (see
In step 312, the actual cost of sending the email created in step 302 is determined by computing unit 106 (see
In step 314, computing unit 106 (see
In step 316, computing unit 106 (see
In step 318, a popup on computing unit 102 (see
In step 320, the employee activates the link included in the notification to display the following descriptions of actions to decrease the cost of sending the email created in step 302 (see
Memory 404 may comprise any known type of data storage and/or transmission media, including bulk storage, magnetic media, optical media, random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), a data cache, a data object, etc. Cache memory elements of memory 404 provide temporary storage of at least some program code in order to reduce the number of times code must be retrieved from bulk storage during execution. Storage unit 412 is, for example, a magnetic disk drive or an optical disk drive that stores data. Moreover, similar to CPU 402, memory 404 may reside at a single physical location, comprising one or more types of data storage, or be distributed across a plurality of physical systems in various forms. Further, memory 404 can include data distributed across, for example, a LAN, WAN or storage area network (SAN) (not shown).
I/O interface 406 comprises any system for exchanging information to or from an external source. I/O devices 410 comprise any known type of external device, including a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers, handheld device, printer, facsimile, etc. Bus 408 provides a communication link between each of the components in computing unit 106, and may comprise any type of transmission link, including electrical, optical, wireless, etc.
I/O interface 406 also allows computing unit 106 to store and retrieve information (e.g., program instructions or data) from an auxiliary storage device (e.g., storage unit 412). The auxiliary storage device may be a non-volatile storage device (e.g., a CD-ROM drive which receives a CD-ROM disk). Computing unit 106 can store and retrieve information from other auxiliary storage devices (not shown), which can include a direct access storage device (DASD) (e.g., hard disk or floppy diskette), a magneto-optical disk drive, a tape drive, or a wireless communication device.
Memory 404 includes computer program code 414 for the system disclosed herein for identifying and reducing costs of IT actions in real time. Further, memory 404 may include other systems not shown in
The invention can take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment or an embodiment containing both hardware and software elements. In a preferred embodiment, the invention is implemented in software, which includes but is not limited to firmware, resident software, microcode, etc.
Furthermore, the invention can take the form of a computer program product accessible from a computer-usable or computer-readable medium providing program code 414 for use by or in connection with a computing unit 106 or any instruction execution system to provide and facilitate the capabilities of the present invention. For the purposes of this description, a computer-usable or computer-readable medium can be any apparatus that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport the program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.
The medium can be an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system (or apparatus or device) or a propagation medium. Examples of a computer-readable medium include a semiconductor or solid state memory, magnetic tape, a removable computer diskette, RAM 404, ROM, a rigid magnetic disk and an optical disk. Current examples of optical disks include compact disk-read-only memory (CD-ROM), compact disk-read/write (CD-R/W) and DVD.
Any of the components of the present invention can be deployed, managed, serviced, etc. by a service provider that offers to deploy or integrate computing infrastructure with respect to the method of identifying and reducing costs of IT actions in real time. Thus, the present invention discloses a process for supporting computer infrastructure, comprising integrating, hosting, maintaining and deploying computer-readable code into a computing system (e.g., computing unit 106), wherein the code in combination with the computing unit is capable of performing a method of identifying and reducing costs of IT actions in real time.
In another embodiment, the invention provides a business method that performs the process steps of the invention on a subscription, advertising and/or fee basis. That is, a service provider, such as a Solution Integrator, can offer to create, maintain, support, etc. a method of identifying and reducing costs of IT actions in real time. In this case, the service provider can create, maintain, support, etc. a computer infrastructure that performs the process steps of the invention for one or more customers. In return, the service provider can receive payment from the customer(s) under a subscription and/or fee agreement, and/or the service provider can receive payment from the sale of advertising content to one or more third parties.
The flow diagrams depicted herein are provided by way of example. There may be variations to these diagrams or the steps (or operations) described herein without departing from the spirit of the invention. For instance, in certain cases, the steps may be performed in differing order, or steps may be added, deleted or modified. All of these variations are considered a part of the present invention as recited in the appended claims.
While embodiments of the present invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, many modifications and changes will become apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to encompass all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.
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|International Classification||G06F17/00, G06F11/34|
|Cooperative Classification||G06Q30/0283, G06Q30/04, G06Q10/10, G06Q10/063|
|European Classification||G06Q30/04, G06Q10/10, G06Q10/063, G06Q30/0283|
|Aug 17, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ANDERSON, TIMOTHY MERRILL;BAUMANN, WARREN JOHN;FISCHER, GREGORY JAMES;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019709/0685;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070814 TO 20070816
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ANDERSON, TIMOTHY MERRILL;BAUMANN, WARREN JOHN;FISCHER, GREGORY JAMES;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070814 TO 20070816;REEL/FRAME:019709/0685
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|Dec 30, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Dec 30, 2014||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
|Mar 13, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: LINKEDIN CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:035201/0479
Effective date: 20140331